Sports Massage: Muscle Damage and Healing

September 8, 2018



We know, after the last post that sports massage can help you feel less pain, especially if you are suffering from severe DOMS being upwards of 7/10 on a pain scale. We also know that exercise causes muscle damage and the greater the intensity of exercise the greater the level of damage. This is normal though, and is part of the body’s system for getting better at whatever exercise you are doing, be it lifting weights, running of jumping. This article will explain how sports massage can help your muscles recover and how it will help you in your training.



Muscle Damage


When we exercise, our muscles get damaged and the muscle cells ‘leak’ some of their contents into the blood stream. Creatine kinase (CK), is one of the enzymes that is leaked from the muscle cells and is a good indicator of muscle damage. Although not a perfect measure raised levels of CK in the blood is highly linked with increasing levels of muscle damage. This increase typically happens a day after exercise and peaks around days 5-7 after the event. However this may be accelerated based on factors such as exercises type, exercise intensity and your daily activity.


One argument I see is that if cells leak their contents into the surrounding area, being inside your muscles, the area becomes full and you effectively suffocate the healthy cells. The body spends more time trying to get rid of the effective swelling and less time and energy repairing the damage. Hence we see rising (not high but continually rising!) levels of CK in the blood for days after the exercise.